Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Hash and The Beast

Last weekend was a great weekend for nutjob runners.

Our first trip was to Widewaters in Lockport, NY where the Beast of Burden 100 was coming to a close. It's amazing to see the transformation at Widewaters along the Erie Canal as the spirit of the beast takes over.

 For those of you who don't know, the Beast of Burden 100 is a 100 mile race along the historic Erie Canal. It is run once in the summer and once in the winter. You can also choose to run the 50 miler or the 24 hour race.  Not your ordinary run in the park.

When we got to the Widewaters Marina the race had already been going on for 25 hours. One of the directors, Jim Pease told us there were still 10 people out there. The 100 milers had to finish the race within 30 hours.

We watched as Milko Mejia from Fresh Meadows, NY came in at 25:31. He was welcomed home with cheers, cowbells and the Rolling Stone's Beast of Burden blasting out of the loud speakers.

The race started 10:00 Saturday morning. It was now 12:30 Sunday afternoon. That is a long time to be on your feet.

Edward Broadmax from Ft. Bragg, NC ran a 12:35:40 and Kerri Haskins from Danville, NY ran a 14:22:55. Both were still there cheering in the rest of the runners. Jim Pease did fifty miles as a practice run!

Dominic Pasceri the youngest of the runners, just 13 years old ran 50 miles in 17:13:38! His proud father, Sam, looked on with pride. The day before the race Sam fell from the first floor to the basement and broke 11 vertebrae, herniated 5 other discs, broke his left shoulder and most of the ribs on his right side. Originally he was going to pace his son. Obviously he was no longer able to run in the race but nothing was going to stop him from being there when Dom crossed the finish line.

The winner of the race, Joseph Czabaranek from Dayton, Ohio came in at 14:47:30 beating the course record of 14:56:50 set by Valmir Nunes from Brazil at the Summer Beast.  Click here for the rest of the results.

Next we headed out to Gonzos Bar in Lockport NY where the Buffalo Hash House Harriers were meeting for Hash #704 - NUTS, it's Cold Out! The Hashers are billed as a drinking club with a running problem.

Barebackbullseye and Cowgirl (the man on the right is Cowgirl) were setting the trail. I'm not sure how he got the name Cowgirl but I'll bet it's a great story.

When we entered the bar I felt like we were being let into a secret society.

Having heard all kinds of strange stories about the Hashers we were expecting a bunch of crazy, drunken redneckers. Instead what we found were the nicest bunch of well read, personable runners you'd ever want to meet.

BangsforABuck and SudsandJugs were kind enough to let us in on some of the finer aspects of hashing. HeadDispenser also added some input.

Disorganization is the rule of the day. The hash officially starts at 12:69 (1:09) but in reality it actually starts around 2:30 because everybody first meets inside the bar for a beer or two and socializes before the run.

As it was explained to me, every hash is different, nobody but the hares know where the trail will lead them. You just follow the hash marks. All hashers wear a whistle (if you forget your whistle that is a penalty - more on that later). If someone is off the trail they will blow the whistle to keep everyone on track. There are no winners or losers here.

At every mile marker you drink a beer and sing.  The fastest runners wait for the slowest runners. Nobody is left behind. I hope I am getting all of the details and names right. There is a lot to learn.

Other penalties include no peeing on the trail, no hats in the circle and other violations that are made up along the way.  Any hasher can call a penalty on their fellow hashers during the run. When the hash is over everybody gathers in a circle and the penalties are doled out, one cup of beer at a time.

Being injured and on meds I decided to send a scout out on the trail with the hashers to see what it was all about. I needed someone ready to run anywhere, anytime for any reason, someone not quite right in the head.  The choice was obvious. The Cannibal quickly changed into his running clothes at the bar.

After the run he reported back to us. Having heard some of the details I wasn't sure if he was reporting accurately or just delusional from the beer and snow. It was obvious I was going to have to run this thing myself next time.

When I do my first hash I will report back with the details.

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So what's next? Rumor has it there is a race coming up in February where the guys run in heels and red dresses. You'd have to be a real nut job to do that one.  See you there.